"Intel acquired Mobileye (NYSE: MBLY) because it could; it had the money. Intel is an excellent company, and its connection with another excellent company creates a lot of value. I've no doubt that it will be a marvelous marriage, and will provide many advantages, including business opportunities. I think that the planets are very nicely lined up for Israel and the US," says Ray LaHood, US Secretary of Transportation in the first Obama administration and an Illinois Congressman in 1995-2009. LaHood is currently a consultant for the DLA Piper international law firm, which jointly organized a transportation conference in Tel Aviv with Israeli law firm Herzog, Fox & Ne'eman.
At the conference, LaHood spoke about the future of transportation, and emphasized that success in this sector will be if in 10 or 20 years, the average number of cars per family in the US is one, due to the fact that there are no good alternatives. "A lot of money will be invested in all varieties of the next generation of transportation. In the US, a large proportion of the next generation of transportation will be based on railways. That's what people want, and as Secretary of Transportation, I traveled to 18 countries to study the subject. We invested a lot in this," he says.
"There are a lot of people in the US, especially young people after college, who are moving to Chicago, Washington, New York, and other large cities, and one of the things they don't want is a car. They use mass transit. There's a lot of technology in this, and we have invested billions in subways and in cities that want an alternative to cars. We explained this to people in a simple way: 'When your kid comes back from college to the city, it will be because of well-paid jobs, affordable housing and convenient transportation.' That has to be part of the calculation."
LaHood later spoke in greater detail about the changes brought about by technology, one of which is vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications, saying, "When I was Secretary of Transportation, I funded research in Michigan in which they gave people various cars. One family got a Ford, another a Chevrolet, but what they all had in common was that in each area, these cars spoke to each other. The goal was to have the cars warn the drivers about relevant information that can prevent accidents, and it worked. What did the car companies do after this experiment? They began to install the technology in their cars.
"Another area I think is critical is the autonomous cars. I developed a relationship with Uber, which asked me to do work for them. I drove to Pittsburgh last year, where Uber tested the autonomous car. I met with a guy at least 30 years old, but who was probably one of the smartest people I ever met in my life. I asked him when this autonomous car would be on the road, and he answered, 'In five years.' This means that we'll all be part of it. Autonomous cars are becoming an important matter. Google is investing a lot of money in it, and so are Apple and Uber, because they know it's the future, that it's what people want. We'll see if this is right."
Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on March 15, 2017
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